Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Trey Johnson headed to Italy
By Dave McMenamin
LOS ANGELES -- Lakers guard Trey Johnson is heading to Italy to play basketball next season.
Johnson, a late-season call-up by the Lakers from the D-League last year, signed a one-year deal with Teramo Basket of the Italian League on Wednesday.
Johnson's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPNLosAngeles.com that his client's contract does not include an opt-out clause to return to the NBA should the lockout be resolved in time for the league to hold all or part of the 2011-12 season.
Johnson averaged 25.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 39 games with the Bakersfield Jam before the Lakers signed him for the end of the regular season through the playoffs to provide backup point guard depth to the roster while Steve Blake was sidelined with the chicken pox.
Johnson scored six points in 13 minutes in the Lakers' regular-season finale in Sacramento but played sparingly in the playoffs, averaging 1.0 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 4.0 minutes per game in three spot appearances.
The 6-foot-5, 218-pound Johnson was an unrestricted free agent and it was unlikely the Lakers would re-sign him after spending their two draft picks on two point guards in Darius Morris (No. 41 out of Michigan) and Andrew Goudelock (No. 46 out of the College of Charleston).
While Kobe Bryant told reporters at a charity soccer event in Washington, D.C., over the weekend that he is open to playing overseas during the lockout but is "waiting for his phone to ring" from a team who is interested, Johnson joins former Laker guards Sasha Vujacic (Turkey) and Jordan Farmar (Israel) in being proactive about finding an opportunity to sign with a team abroad.
The 26-year-old Johnson also follows the footsteps of former Lakers Joe Crispin and Devin Green, both of whom played for Teramo after wearing the purple and gold in Los Angeles.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.